why i'm afraid of my own art

I take pictures.  After all that I've learned recently, I should say

I'm a photographer.

But I'm more reluctant to call myself a photographer than a writer.

I have taken thousands of pictures, put some online, but printed and framed just a few.  Once I gave one of my pictures away as a gift but doing that just seemed bold and pretentious (and distracting to me for every time I went to their house...where is it? where is it?).

Even in my own home, if I do print and frame some of my best shots, they stay leaning against a wall or a cabinet somewhere, gathering dust as I just can't bring myself to hang them up.

I noticed this after it happened recently and I just kept moving said unhung, matted and framed photos from room to room, wall to wall, cabinet to cabinet to lean against.   It never dawned on me to actually hang them somewhere.


Because I'm afraid of what I'll see.  Afraid that I won't like it.  Afraid it won't be good enough. Afraid it won't look like all those gorgeous prints I always long to buy at art shows.  Afraid that looking at my own artwork day after day will only spell


Fear holds me back.  Fear keeps me prisoner. Fear must be dealt with or it's never going to go away.

I took a step and did things differently today.  I took the prints, dusted off their frames, rearranged some spaces and now they sit on my headboard.  Once they were there, I realized it only took 5 minutes to go from "hide these" to "these look nice here".  It was painless.  But it took me almost a year to get to those 5 minutes.

Fear no more.

Three things I know that you need to know, too.

1. Your work is better than you give yourself credit for.

2. You are always your own worst critic.

3. I'm living proof that it only takes 5 minutes to go from fear to victory.

Find something you made that needs your attention.  Spend time doing whatever you need to so that you can display it proudly, send it off assuredly, or give it away as a gift with honor.

And then come back here and leave a comment telling what those 5 minutes looked like for you. 

I guarantee you're going to like what you see.


  1. I'm glad you found your way. As I was reading, I was thinking, just say "I am an artist" and it covers it all. It took me until about five years ago to start SAYING OUTLOUD "I'm a writer, painter, and a singer." It's that Protestant New England thing from my mom and her mom, the moment I would say "I really like this poem I wrote" one would say "Remember, you're not such a much."

    And looking at how people responded to the labels, rather than looking at MYSELF to define parts of who I am. I could say Mother, Consultant, friend--all those other things. I hope your entry inspires others.

    I've stopped even trying to evaluate my writing and just slap it on my blog and let it fly. Take care.

    1. I like the "I am an artist" all-covering phrase! So true! I may start saying that, but I hope people don't expect me to paint. ;) Thanks for reading and sharing your comment.

  2. I can't believe how much alike we are. I paint and do the same thing-framed and unframed oil paintings all leaning against each other by the wall. A couple of weeks ago, I finally got enough nerve to hang up a water color of a cat. I don't even like cats!

    True, we are more critical of ourselves. My problem is that I don't have much of a style, and the subjects of my paintings are so different. If I hung them up, everything would just look chaotic. Don't you just hate that perfectionist trait?

    1. Shelley - yes, we sound like kindred spirits. Congrats on hanging up the watercolor of the cat - way to go! That's what I'm talking about.

      Don't worry about style - just keep painting. I completely admire that you are ABLE to paint - see my reply to Jeannette above!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.


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